Caribbean

Day at Chalk Sound National Park: a turquoise oasis in Turks and Caicos

Ema Bakalova

Jul 11, 2022

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Turquios Water at Chalk Sound National Park
Turquios Water at Chalk Sound National Park

Chalk Sound National Park in Turks and Caicos is a breathtaking natural wonder characterized by its turquoise lagoon, dotted with small limestone islands called "cays." The water's vibrant colours create a contrast with the white limestone formations. The national park is one of the most visually captivating landscapes on the island.

Chalk Sound National Park
Chalk Sound National Park

A day at Chalk Sound National Park

We planned to spend a full day at Chalk Sound National Park on the southwest side of the island. The park features very shallow (approx 3 ft deep) crystal-clear turquoise waters surrounded with numerous tiny rock islands. What makes Chalk Sound particularly special is the pristine quality of its sand and waters, which remain free of algae. The turquoise colour of the water is a result of the sunlight refracting off the fine limestone sand that lays on the water bed. This natural phenomenon is what makes the park unique to other surrounding beaches and waters.

Kayaking at Chalk Sound National Park

Good to know

Plan your visit when there isn't much wind and the weather is at it's best. They recommend going in the morning when the sun isn't the hottest and the wind hasn't picked up yet. They don't let you kayak or do any water sports if it is too windy.

Kayaking at Chalk Sound National Park

Good to know

Plan your visit when there isn't much wind and the weather is at it's best. They recommend going in the morning when the sun isn't the hottest and the wind hasn't picked up yet. They don't let you kayak or do any water sports if it is too windy.

Chalk Sound National Park
Chalk Sound National Park

Catching a tour at Las Bristas

When you arrive at Chalk Sound, you'll find yourself at Las Brisas Restaurant, which serves as a restaurant and bar as well as the central spot for all tours and water-related activities. Whether you're interested in renting water sports equipment or wanting to take a guided tour, the restaurant's bar at the front is where you can buy your tickets.

Las Bristas at Chalk Sound National Park

Note

You need to go many hours before closing time, because the park is so big, it could take you a long time to get back to shore if you have gone out on a kayak or paddle board.

I highly recommend taking a tour of Chalk Sound from Las Brisas Restaurant, as it takes you much deeper into the water, areas where you'd struggle to reach on your own (call in advance to confirm the day's weather conditions and to ask about the tour schedule for that day). During our visit, there were no crowds, in fact it was quite empty, so we essentially had a private tour experience. They provide snorkeling gear, water, and there was a shaded area on the boat which was appreciated, especially during the peak hours of the day.

Boat tour of Chalk Sound National Park
Boat tour of Chalk Sound National Park
Boat tour of Chalk Sound National Park
Boat tour of Chalk Sound National Park

Things to see at Chalk Sound National Park

The boat tour of Chalk Sound National Park is a couple hours long, and includes a few things.

  1. The tour guides take you deep into the beautiful blue lagoon and through the dozens of tiny islands.

  2. If you’d like to go snorkeling, the boat stops at a few snorkeling sites, where the water is very shallow, allowing you swim around some coral reefs and step in the limestone sand. The limestone sand feels like soft mud beneath your feet, and it is unlike anything I have ever felt before.

  3. You make a stop at the "Blue Hole" which is a 220 ft deep drop down, which is full of marine life and where divers love to go (you don't go into the Blue Hole, you just observe it from the boat).

  4. The guides take you to Iguana island, where you can get off the boat and interact with hundreds of iguanas on one of the tiny islands.

The Blue Hole at Chalk Sound National Park
The Blue Hole at Chalk Sound National Park

Iguana Island

Beyond just the obvious natural beauty of the surrounding lagoon, one of the most memorable moments of the boat tour was undoubtedly the visit to Iguana Island. The tour guides dock the boat and let us off on a tiny island full of hundreds of iguanas that come to the edge of the island when the boat approaches.

Some people opted to remain on the boat, but it was really interesting to see how they interacted with one another as well as with us, so I would encourage giving it a try!

Iguana Island at Chalk Sound National Park

Fun fact

The tour guides gave us bread to feed them, and we were able to observe them from up close. It was obvious that the iguanas were used to having people feed them, because they approached fearlessly, and ate right from our hands.

Iguana Island at Chalk Sound National Park

Fun fact

The tour guides gave us bread to feed them, and we were able to observe them from up close. It was obvious that the iguanas were used to having people feed them, because they approached fearlessly, and ate right from our hands.

Iguana Island at Chalk Sound National Park
Iguana Island at Chalk Sound National Park

Dining at Las Bristas

After our boat tour, we rented kayaks and took them out close to the restaurant. We couldn't get very far out into the water, so we were thankful to have gotten a tour of the lagoon earlier. Afterwards, we went to Las Bristas restaurant for dinner.

Kayaking at Chalk Sound National Park

Water sports

When the wind is strong, it becomes harder to paddle. The good news is that if you find yourself stuck or too tired to keep paddling at any point, the water is so shallow that you can get out and walk yourself back to shore.

Kayaking at Chalk Sound National Park

Water sports

When the wind is strong, it becomes harder to paddle. The good news is that if you find yourself stuck or too tired to keep paddling at any point, the water is so shallow that you can get out and walk yourself back to shore.

The restaurant has an elevated seating space facing the lagoon, and we got to enjoy the view of Chalk Sound from our dinner table. If you are looking for a place to go out for dinner on the island, I would recommend giving Las Bristas a try and combining it with a day spent at the National Park.

Las Bristas Restaurant at Chalk Sound National Park
Las Bristas Restaurant at Chalk Sound National Park
Las Bristas Restaurant at Chalk Sound National Park
Las Bristas Restaurant at Chalk Sound National Park
Las Bristas Restaurant at Chalk Sound National Park
Las Bristas Restaurant at Chalk Sound National Park

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